He does it every time. I always believe that a book should be read without any research on the author or subject should you wish to read. When I picked up Slow Man, I was intrigued by the title. I didn’t know anything else about the book. Half way through the book I thought I had lost my book and gave up reading it. Yesterday, I found it again and finished it today.
The protagonist Paul Rayment does not strike you as one of those fighter type of people who will show the world that he will not give up and will make the best out of his condition. He is an ordinary man, who has a terrible accident, that forces him to swallow pride and manliness. He tries to get by, gets himself a nurse and foolishly falls in love with her. He has an unexpected visitor – a woman. Why she is there and who she is – is unfathomable. She somehow becomes involved in PR’s (Paul Rayment) boring, confused and dismayed life.
This saga continues (I am not going to give more details) but, suddenly like seeing a green clearing and sunshine when you get out of a dark dangerous forest, PR realises how simple life really is. Somethings that you hold on to for life become irrelevant. Perception can change in a second, all it takes is a drop of truth.
Of course, PR is the “Slow Man”. Why he is the slow man one can only discover after reading the book.
As a writer Coetzee does not cease to amaze me. His writing is so real. I was in the hospital, my father had just had a major operation and I used to read when he would sleep during the day. I could relate to his fear, his wanting to do things just to prove to himself that he is normal. I could understand the anguish of a man seeing people like his daughter try to make him comfortable, take care of him. He never thought that day could come. A man realising that age was catching up with him. PR helped me understand that and empathize with my dad.
As for Coetzee, he continues to be my favorite writer.